Fuchs, Leonhart


Plantarum effigies.

Ac quinque diversis linguis redditae. Lugduni: Apud Balthazarem Arnoulletum, 1552. Republication without text of illustrations first used in Arnoullet's ed. of the author's De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, 1549. Captions in Greek, Latin, French, Italian and German. Woodcuts by Clement Boussy. First ed. 1549. Reissued in 1551 without French parallel title, and again in 1552. References: Baudrier, H. L. Bib. lyonnaise, v. 10, p. 130-131.

This first "field guide" to plants is only 4" tall and contains just the name and woodcut illustration of the plant. It is actually a very condensed version of Fuchs' De historia stipiium commentarii insignes (1549). Fuchs was very concerned that very few doctors had any knowledge of plants. The doctors relied on illiterate apothecaries who relied in turn on peasants who gathered the herbs. Improper identification of plants could be extremely hazardous to the patient. Fuchs arranged his work according to the Greek alphabet. This particular field guide also provides indices in both Latin and French. This particular field guide was designed by the publisher because the original work did not sell well. Fuchs’s main contribution was in the quality of his illustrations, and this particular field guide did a very respectable job of reproducing them in a smaller size. Unfortunately later pocket editions became more and more degraded travesties of this noble original.

Subjects: Botany--Pre-Linnean works; Botany--Pictorial works.


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